Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

A map is not a picture!!!!

This reading really got me thinking. How efficient are the maps that we use? The ones on our phones gps systems, are they at all accurate? I like how the author compares photographed maps to magazine covers. As most of us know, celebs that are on the covers of magazines look nothing like they do in real life. Things are edited and changed to look more appealing to the audience. The same thing is clearly done with maps! First of all, like the author said, the world is round but we have to turn it into a flat form in order to use it. I do think that this is more convenient for people who need to use a map. We do not want to carry around a big old map to get to our destination it is obviously easier to just have a portion of the map that is needed like on our cell phones. Only problem is that a map is not simply just a picture! A real map becomes biased when we do this because the information can be different from the original and inaccurate. When the original maps are remade many details may change. When doing this, the original map loses its original direction and meaning that it started with. This is why I have noticed many times myself and have witnessed others getting lost while using a navigation / gps. Many times it will reroute us or just have us going in circles!


The image of the map that I added has  many inaccuracies. The coast lines seem exaggerated, and it seems as thought at the time they believed that you could get to Asia through the atlantic. The geography of the map is also distorted. Even minor little altercation can mess up the entire map.


  1. This is very true that today’s digital age has been providing more appealing pictures for their audience like they do for celebrities on magazines. And by making it easier for people to use maps, they forget that a map is not just a picture. I suppose it depends on how people from different time periods depict a map since landscape sometimes changes over time in some regions and recent geographers or image artists might not have the same perspectives as the original creators.

  2. Its funny I have gotten lost with a car GPS but not with my phone GPS. But yes it is way more convenient to follow a GPS and not try to drive and look at a huge paper map. I wish there was a better way to translate maps so that way there wont be anyone getting lost and everything now with updated maps.

  3. I get what you mean by how maps aren’t always accurate. Sometimes when I use GPS on my phone, it isn’t updated and some buildings will be there in real life but aren’t represented on the map and it does change a whole lot. For me, I don’t really mind that maps aren’t totally realistic because I don’t expect them to. The world is always changing, shifting, moving around, and going through climate changes so I understand that it is difficult to release an updated map constantly.

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